A countryside-inspired wedding in Devon: Julia Hayes and Kye Williams

26 Apr 2016

The stunning wedding of Julia Hayes and Kye Williams, captured in the picturesque setting of Dartington Hall in Devon

How did you meet? 

I was at university in Belfast and had come back for the Easter holidays. I was catching up with a few friends in a bar and caught Kye’s eye. He asked for my number, kissed me on the cheek and went off into the night. He contacted me the next morning and we have been together ever since. From the beginning he was a complete gentleman.

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Tell us about the proposal.

Again, at Easter, back from university, we were having a family dinner party, everyone was in black tie. Kye took me to one side and asked me three questions: “You know I love you? Do you want to spend the rest of your life with me? Will you marry me?” I was a complete happy mess. Having him propose in tux just topped it all off.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

We didn’t really have a theme; we just based decisions on what we liked. I guess you could say classical countryside inspired our decisions but we wanted everything to be simple and elegant, and with such beautiful venues, we needed very little decoration.

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For the bride(s), when did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

I picked my dress as a bit of a joke; every girl likes to play dress-up and I thought I wanted to be a princess for an hour. When I tried it on though, I knew automatically it was my dress. Nothing like I had ever wanted but it was beautiful, simple and elegant and it made me feel incredible. I added sleeves to make it a little more original, made from the same tulle as the gown. It was also very comfortable, which made it even better.

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For the groom(s), where did you find your suits?

We knew we wanted Kye to stand out, but not too much from the rest of the groomsmen. After deciding on what the bridesmaids were wearing we went for grey; the groomsmen’s three-piece suits came from Debenhams and Kye’s yellow check suit from Moss.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

Having grown up in the countryside, I always had a love of wild flowers and knew I wanted them for the wedding to break up the rugged architecture of the venues. Based around the skirts we chose for the bridesmaids, I wanted white with a hint of yellow, so went for daisies, gypsophelia, craspedia and stocks. The bouquets were done professionally with a just picked look but the church flowers were arranged by my mother and the centrepieces by my sister-in-law, Amba.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

Everything was very simple and traditional for our wedding and everyone came to the whole day so enjoyed the experience from start to finish. Our main aim was just to have a wonderful day and so we concentrated more on the big things, rather than include lots of little things and I think that was what made the day as seamless as it was.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Completely overrun with emotion; as soon as the organ started playing and the doors opened, I burst into tears - pure joy and excitement (plus the nerves of walking down the long aisle).

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What was your most memorable moment? 

The whole day could not have been topped, but walking back down the aisle with my husband on my arm and all my friends and family beaming at us just filled me with so much happiness.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

I think the hardest aspect of organising the wedding was doing it from a distance. Kye and I had just moved to Bath and with him in the military as well, it made it hard to organise meetings etc, which normally meant we piled up a few weekends with appointments.

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What was the most important investment for you? Food, drink, honeymoon?

My family has always had a love of good food and drink, so it was very important for us to know our guests would be given the finest of both. Knowing Dartington Hall source all of their produce locally, we knew that department would not be a problem, but for the wine we decided that we would rather source it from our favourite vineyard in Amboise, France. My parents took a trip over and selected the wine according to the food we had chosen. The guests thoroughly enjoyed both, with many planning on visiting the vineyard.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why? 

We chose L.O.V.E by Nat King Cole. We both loved the song from the off and we both knew we could dance to it. It’s a fun piece to dance to and brought out both of our playful sides, also making it not too awkward for our guests to watch. We also had a swing band so we got an incredible live version of it.

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Tell us about your wedding cake. 

Neither of us have a particularly sweet tooth but love cheese, so we decided on a cake from West Country Cheese; five tiers of local cheeses. We had it as evening food with figs, bread and sweet wine (from the vineyard) and it went down extremely well.

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

Not a thing. The day was perfect from start to finish and we are very lucky to say that there wasn’t a single hitch.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

Not particularly, although when people warn you it will go quickly, you can never imagine that quickly, and to enjoy every second, from the preparation to saying goodbye to all your guests the next morning.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

It was all a surprise; Kye told me when we were alone after the service that we were going to the Dominican Republic. As Kye works away, it was incredible to just have so much time together in pure paradise.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Enjoy planning as a couple, don’t make it a reason to stress or argue. You are still living your life, whilst planning so make sure you do; don’t let knowing you’ve got the wedding stop you from doing things.

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Steal their style:
Photography: Martyn Norsworthy, www.norsworthyweddings.co.uk
Venue & Catering: Dartington Hall, www.dartington.org/our-venue/weddings
Wine: Closerie de Chanteloup, Amboise, www.closeriedechanteloup.com/index.html
Cake: West Country Cheeses, www.westcountrycheese.co.uk
Band: Swing Empire, www.theswingempire.co.uk
Cars: Bride’s parent’s cars
Dress: Ellis Bridals, www.ellisbridals.co.uk
Flowers: St Mellion Flowers, www.stmellionflowers.co.uk
Bridal shoes: Russell & Bromley, www.russellandbromley.co.uk
Suits: Moss Bros. & Debenhams, www.moss.co.ukwww.debenhams.com
Rings: Ernest Jones, www.ernestjones.co.uk
Bridesmaids Outfits: Coast Stores, www.coast-stores.com

Want to see more real weddings in Devon? Get your copy of South West Bride magazine here.

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